The National Investment Board (NIB) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Unit has on 17th December 2020, wrapped up the three-day Regional Stakeholders’ Consultative/Listening meeting with the business community in the Western Area.
The program with the theme “Voices and Spaces for Investment” started on the 15th December 2020, at the Golden Tulip Essential Kimbima Hotel, Freetown with the key objective to consult/ listen to the challenges of doing business in the country and make recommendations to Improve Sierra Leone’s global standing as an attractive destination for investment with stability, growth and opportunities. Furthermore, the meeting was to solicit suggestions from the private sector to inform the proposed legislation for the creation of the Sierra Leone Investment Board.
In the keynote address, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Edward Hinga Sandy said that, government is prioritizing and working with the private sector to enhance doing business in the country to improve the investment climate. He said, the government has received grant from the World Bank to improve investment policies and legislations making the process of doing business faster, easier and simpler. He encouraged the business community to participate in the process and that their recommendations will be key to advice government in the right direction in terms of investment and trade facilitation.
Giving his opening remarks, Dr. Marda Mustapha, the Executive Director of NIB and Chairman of the program, alluded to the formation of the NIB to President, Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio’s 2018 manifesto promise, that among other things, his government would support the domestic private sector to create linkages with large domestic as well as foreign firms, ensure that Sierra Leoneans are prioritized in many businesses and employments, reorganize the legal regulatory framework governing business and commerce, deregulate the investment climate so as to upgrade investment and private sector to the country’s development.
These among many others things, according to him, were the basis that cabinet approved the creation of the NIB to develop and adopt a national investment and export-based investment strategy and other key private sector development strategies. He said that, “The goal of creating the NIB is to provide an enabling environment for investment and to ensure private sector participation in national investments”; noting that, NIB comprises the Board which is chaired by President Bio and Co-chaired by his Vice, Dr. Juldeh Jalloh; and the Secretariat which he heads.
He explained that the secretariat would coordinate the activities of three agencies (SLIEPA, CAC and the PPP Unit). Heads of the three agencies working with the NIB (Mr. Sheku Lexmond Koroma, CEO of SLIEPA, Mr. Abu Kamara, Director of PPP Unit and Mr. Robert Kowa, Esq. and Mr. Prince Williams, Chairman and Director of Compliance respectively) also made presentations on their mandates and roles they have been performing. They all committed working with the NIB to sanitize the investment environment. Dr Emmanuel Gaima, Governance Advisor to the President, facilitated the three (3) day conference.